I love the quote, "A party without cake is just a meeting", and I completely agree.
After getting jiggy with the sprinkles recently, I compiled the following 5 sugar-coated tips:
Grab a cupcake and read on...
Beyond Birthday Candles
Cupcake toppers don't have to be fancy. I found these Valentine's Day straws at Target and cut them in half. Cheesy or easy? I kind of liked them -instant gratification!
Inspiration could also take the form of plastic dinosaurs, edible flowers, origami, pinwheels, poker chips (the chocolate kind!), flat unwrapped lollipops, little green Army men (remember: if you're making them for kids make sure everyone knows what is edible and what is not!), or mini flags of paper or ribbon.
There are also a number of online templates for do-it-yourself printable toppers that are easily affixed onto decorative straws or lollipop/cake pop sticks from the craft store.
That's a Wrap!
Cupcake wrappers have become much fancier over the years, although the pastel papers remain a classic. I found these paper cups "Le Petite Gateau" from Robert Gordon at Marshall's. They are sturdy and don't even require a muffin tin -you just place the cups on a baking sheet! Neat! I really liked the way the cupcakes looked, but I also liked the way cake baked into tall cylindrical shapes. This shape would be perfect for cupcakes that feature fillings.
Other ideas: Tying a slim ribbon around a plain cupcake wrapper; wrapping a wide ribbon around the plain wrapper and instead of tying them use a couple small dots of glue from a glue gun to hold in place (frost after gluing!); or choose your favorite printed scrapbooking paper and create personalized cupcake wrappers! Brilliant, check out the step-by-step how-to directions on the 52 Kitchen Adventures blog by clicking here.
I recently tried a pastry bag with a frosting tip for the first time. Which just goes to show, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
If you don't want to rush out and buy pastry bags, a clever friend suggests using a Ziplock baggie and snipping off one corner. Presto! Instant frosting bag.
If you would like to use frosting tips with the baggie method, they can be affixed with the standard coupler piece just like on a traditional pastry bag.
Keep Calm & Carry On
And I do mean carry. Did you know there are cupcake carriers for transporting the treats in individual style? A friend who had an extra triple-decker-cupcake-carrier, which I now fondly refer to as the cupcake condo, gave me mine, but you can find them at places like Organize It, Amazon, and Cooking.com.
After your cupcakes have cooled from the oven, if you are going to wait to bake them be sure to keep them fresh by wrapping them with plastic or storing them inside a container (i.e., Tupperware). If you are making them in advance of a party or event, unfrosted cupcakes freeze well!
Once they have been generously frosted, I like to keep my cupcakes in the refrigerator. I have absolutely no baking credentials to back this up, but I love the way it sets the frosting -and the reviews have been positive!